The 15 Best Time Management Activities & Exercises

The 15 Best Time Management Activities & Exercises
Vlad Kovalskiy
August 9, 2021
Last updated: August 9, 2021

Upsides of Time Management Activities

Time management activities can be online or real-life games or exercises. The main advantage of using them is that they let you gain helpful skills that you may apply in your life. Here are some other benefits of these activities:

  1. They develop problem-solving skills. Facing new challenges encourages flexible thinking and creative problem solving.

  2. They help cope with stress. It is no secret that stress is both physically and mentally draining. When you enjoy playing a fun game, it helps you release tension after a hard day at work, feel less exhausted, and more mentally awake.

  3. They improve communication and develop teamwork skills. Since the majority of these activities require you to interact with others, you learn the art of effective communication. It also allows you to get to know your team members better, which helps create a healthier workplace environment. And it has a positive impact on the overall business productivity.

  4. They help you understand the importance of time management. When you become aware of the fact that time is precious, you will likely stop wasting it on unimportant things. It helps learn how to prioritize your work, so you can have more time for other activities.

  5. These activities are not only useful but also entertaining. Having fun is crucial if you wish to lower stress, sleep better, and improve relationships. It increases the level of serotonin that regulates many basic processes in our bodies, which influences our memory, sleeping patterns, body temperature, and mood.

  6. They help improve learning retention. When you are actively engaged in some type of exercise, you improve your abilities for learning retention, which lets you strengthen your knowledge and skills.

The following types of these games can be outlined:

  • Online

  • Offline

  • Group

If you notice your team members are late to work or miss deadlines, maybe it is high time you introduced some time management activities into your company culture. There are plenty of games available on the Internet. To aid you in your search, we have collected the best of them.


Offline

You can make the most of offline activities by playing them in an office environment. They are intended to help you understand the importance of prioritizing urgent tasks and how to increase your efficiency.

The Minute Exercise

It is a group exercise, so you need at least 4-5 people to perform it.

Instructions:

  1. Everyone in your group should close their eyes, except for one participant.

  2. The participant whose eyes are open should set a timer to keep track of time.

  3. Each person with closed eyes should sit down when they think that one minute has passed.

It is very unlikely that participants will sit down simultaneously. The key idea of this exercise is that everyone perceives time differently. It can teach you that particular activities may take you way longer than you think. This makes everyone question whether they use their time efficiently or not.


The Blind Polygon

Playing this game requires a small group with one leader, a rope, and blindfolds.

Instructions:

  1. Each participant, except for the leader, should cover their eyes with a blindfold.

  2. This small group forms a circle; the leader sets a timer and places a length of rope into the center.

  3. The blindfolded participants need to form this one rope into a particular shape that should be defined by the leader.

  4. Each person should not drop the rope until the given shape is formed.

  5. There can be several rounds.

The chances are high that this task will be confusing for everyone. It teaches you to work in a team within a limited time period. It also helps improve analytical and problem-solving skills.


$86,400

This exercise can be performed by yourself or in a group of colleagues.

Instructions:

  1. Imagine that every day you receive $86,400 into your bank account.

  2. You should spend this money within one day, or you lose it.

  3. You cannot spend a larger sum of money per day.

  4. Write down how you would spend this money. If you perform this task in a group, then everyone should do it.

The idea is that there are 86,400 seconds in each day, and we decide how to spend them. When you are aware of that, it helps better organize your daily tasks.


What Did You Do Yesterday?

For this task, you will need a pen and a piece of paper. It is performed individually and then discussed with colleagues.

Instructions:

  1. You need to write down 5 things you accomplished yesterday. It does not matter what they are.

  2. Think about one thing that you wasted your time on yesterday. It may be some type of distraction that, for instance, hindered your progress or goal accomplishment.

  3. Discuss it with your colleagues and compare your lists.

Writing down 5 accomplishments helps to draw your attention to what you have achieved. At times, we tend to forget about our victories. And it does not matter whether they are big or small. Identifying one distraction lets you be more mindful of what you spend your precious time on.


The Big Picture Exercise

It is a team task. You will require a puzzle box.

Instructions:

  1. Give your group a puzzle. Do not show them what it should look like once it is finished.

  2. Encourage them to finish it as quickly as possible.

  3. Ask them every question like, "Which piece is missing?" "Why is it so difficult?" every 3-4 minutes

  4. Show them what the completed picture should look like. Now it will likely be easier to finish it.

The point of this exercise is to understand that it might be hard to do your work when you do not see the bigger picture. So it is essential to create to-do lists and plan ahead.


The Mayo Jar

To play this game, you will need:

  1. A large glass container for each person in your team.

  2. Various types of objects. It can be anything. For instance, rocks, pebbles, sand, etc.

Instructions:

  1. Each participant should fill their container with the chosen materials.

  2. The aim is to put everything into the container.

Completing this task successfully depends on which objects you put in first. If you say, put sand first, it will be hard to fit anything else in.

This container represents your life, and the objects are those things you try to juggle. This game teaches you to prioritize tasks. For example, the rocks represent something urgently, so they should be put first, and less important things come after them.


The Circadian Rhythm Game

Instructions:

  1. Each player should write down their daily routine and divide it into hourly time blocks. It starts from waking up to going to bed.

  2. Each participant should connect these time blocks with their energy levels. It helps determine at which time of the day you have more energy. It is better to assign a label to each block. For instance, "on fire", "vibrant", "distracted", "slowing down", etc.

This time management activity lets you understand how to organize your day around your energy levels. It also teaches you to prioritize things. You can schedule your urgent tasks for your most productive time.

If you play this game in an office environment, you can identify the most productive time of each team member and assign tasks according to that. It will likely increase your team's efficiency and productivity.


Time squared

It is a useful exercise that can help evaluate your daily routine. You will need to prepare several pages with 24 squares. The number of pages depends on how many players you have in your group. Each participant should have 3 pages.

Instructions:

  1. One square represents one hour of a day. Each participant should fill out the squares on the first page with their everyday activities. For example, sleeping 7 hours = 7 squares, having meals 3 hours = 3 squares, etc.

  2. Each participant needs to fill out the second page with their non-working time at their workplace. For instance, texting someone on social media, having coffee breaks, etc.

  3. Each player should summarize the information from the first and second pages on the third page. It is better to use different colors for each page.

  4. The uncolored squares = productive time.

Playing this game visually shows how you organize your time. Is there anything you can do to improve your time management?


Time wasters

For this group activity you will require:

  • 4 envelopes;

  • 16 pieces of paper.

Instructions:

  1. You will need to select 4-time wasters and write down each of them on the back of each envelope.

  2. Put 4 blank pieces of paper into each envelope.

  3. Your team should be divided into 4 groups.

  4. Give one envelope to each group. Explain that one time waster is written on the back of each envelope.

  5. Each group needs to come up with multiple ideas on how to reduce the given time wasters and write them down on a piece of paper. They have 3 minutes to do that.

  6. When the time is up, each group should pass their envelope to the next team.

  7. There should be 3-4 rounds.

This exercise may help you review various types of time wasters and motivate you to develop strategies in order to overcome them. Each group can share their ideas with the entire team. Also, you can conduct a voting round and decide which of the offered strategies works best.


The Desert Island Game

It is better to play this game in a group. You will require a pen, paper, and your imagination.

Instructions:

  1. Each player should imagine they are abandoned on an uninhabited island. What 3 things would they take with them?

  2. Everyone should write down these 3 things on a piece of paper within 2 minutes.

  3. Each participant receives points for important things and zero points for unimportant items.

The goal of this game is to show whether you can set priorities. If you do not follow the rules of time management in your life, then choosing 3 things within 2 minutes might be difficult.

It may resemble your work life. Say, you have 7 hours to complete important tasks. You have to set priorities in order to accomplish them successfully. Practicing this exercise can help you be more careful about spending your time.


The Ace of Spades

This time management training game will require two players, one leader, and 2 decks of cards. One deck should be properly organized, so all the cards are in the right order and are facing the same direction. The cards in the second deck should be mixed up and face forwards and backwards.

Instructions:

  1. One player gets the mixed-up deck, and the second player gets the properly organized cards. They do not know about that.

  2. Each participant should try to find the ace of spades faster than their rival.

The person with the organized cards will likely find the ace quicker. Usually, the player with the mixed-up deck gets confused and complains that it is not fair. You can compare these decks with 2 schedules. One is properly structured, and the second one is poorly organized. This game will likely help understand the importance of time management.


Delegation of tasks

It is a team exercise. You will need at least 3 participants.

Instructions:

  1. One person should select 1 unpleasant task they have to perform in their work. In this game, they can delegate it to their colleague.

  2. The person who is delegating their work should explain the task to their colleague and encourage them to perform it.

  3. The second participant needs to evaluate how well the delegator explains his task. The third person writes down the results.

  4. Discuss the results. Change the roles and repeat the exercise. There should be 3 rounds.

At times, there are situations when you need someone to help you. The idea of this game is to learn that delegating tasks is important for effective time management. The thing is that you should not hesitate to ask for assistance. If you are a manager, you need to choose the right person to perform your task for you.


Online Games

People mostly play online games because they wish to connect with others. Some users find that it helps them relax and gain a sense of fulfillment.

When playing games, you can encounter some situations you do not know how to deal with. If you start looking for a solution, it makes your brain maximize its creativity. So it can help improve such important skills as critical and creative thinking.

When choosing digital games, why not opt for those that are both entertaining and useful? Instead of trying to shoot some character in a vicious game, you can try time management online activities.


Game Dev Story

It falls into the category of business simulation games. Your character is a video game developer that launches a start-up project. To make this business successful, you will have to hire and manage employees. Also, you will need to control a range of factors that might hinder the process of game development.

This game receives review scores that range from 1 to 10. When you reach a certain level, you can hire more employees.

This game helps train leadership, business, and problem-solving skills. Trying to complete your tasks within a time limit improves your time management skills.


Overcooked

There are single and multiplayer modes available. In this game, you will become a kitchen chef that has to cook and serve various types of food, and then clean everything up. And it is all in a stressful environment with obstacles and under time pressure.

If you complete an order successfully, you get coins and bonuses for speed. Those orders that are improperly served do not receive any coins. They are considered a waste of time.

When you encounter a range of obstacles and challenges, you train your decision-making and problem-solving skills. Since each level in this game has time constraints, you learn how to manage your tasks and successfully accomplish things. If you play in multiplayer mode, it also develops team-building skills.


Twelve Labors of Hercules

Your character will be Hercules who has to perform 12 labors and save his wife from the underworld. Time constraints are imposed for each task. You will have to overcome lots of challenges and meet deadlines.

This game helps train time management skills, critical thinking, and quick decision-making.

Online games are a good way to practice time management skills. Moreover, they help improve such cognitive abilities as logic, critical thinking, and attention.


Final Thoughts

Why is organizing your time so important? There are lots of reasons. In a nutshell, not following the principles of time management may lead to a range of negative consequences. For instance, missed deadlines, poor work quality, increased stress levels, etc.

Applying the concept in your life allows you to reduce the level of stress, submit quality work on time, explore more opportunities, spend more time with family or friends, and take on more difficult tasks.

These are some key ideas you need to remember if you wish to master the art of planning your time:

  1. Time is a scarce resource. It cannot be recovered. It will be hard to accomplish anything if you regularly waste it on unimportant things. Try to pay more attention to how you spend it.

  2. Planning your time is essential if you wish to be successful. Rushing to complete your project at the last moment will likely result in poor-quality work. If you want to succeed in something and get more things done, you need to learn how to manage your time.

  3. Consider various opportunities. If you, for example, have a big project, think about several ways of accomplishing it. There are always ways to be more productive.

  4. Setting daily goals is important. It creates more structure in your life. You can break down your goals into more manageable tasks, so it will be easier to work on them.

  5. Identify your major distractions. Try to analyze your day and identify which activities distract you from achieving your goals. Working on reducing them can significantly improve your productivity.

Today, games are used in many educational institutions since they are a great way to help people acquire new skills. Studies show that applying this type of activity improves critical thinking and allows students to think outside the box. Games also encourage people to engage and interact with others, which develops communication skills.

So you will only benefit from using time management activities. Not only will it help you identify your weaknesses in terms of planning your time, but will also allow you to unwind and have fun.

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